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Associate VP of Benefits


St. Louis, Missouri 63146
Job Type:
Job Status:
Full Time
1st Shift
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Job Details

This position provides strategic and operational leadership for the Systemwide Benefit programs for Ascension associates.  Responsibilities of this position include the strategic design, development and operational delivery of all retirement plans, health & welfare plans, and wellness programs sponsored by Ascension; along with related insurance and discount programs offered to associates for voluntary utilization.  The scope also includes related plans and policies, including holiday, paid time off, severance, tuition reimbursement, adoption assistance, and associate recognition.  The position also includes oversight of a large pension administration function providing administrative support for 15 defined benefit plans covering over 150,000 active, deferred-vested, and retired participants. 


As part of the strategic design and development of benefit plans, the incumbent in this position must consult with the Compensation team, HR Partners, and Executive Leaders to ensure that the offerings support the overall Ascension Rewards Philosophy, meet both market and line of business needs, and optimize administrative efficiency and effectiveness.



  • Develops and implements the strategy for design and management of cost effective broad-based associate core and voluntary benefit programs that support Ascension’s Associate Rewards Philosophy and Policy, which is reflective of Ascension’s Mission, Vision, and Values.
  • Collaborates with Solutions, Ministry Market, Compensation, System HR Partners, and executive leaders, and other stakeholders to develop goals, project plans, and budgets necessary to assure high quality benefit program support to all Ascension entities and plan members.  This includes plan design, administration, member services, physician services, medical and financial management, audit, compliance, and communications, with a focus on leveraging ministry capabilities, and driving standardization and efficiency to the extent possible.
  • Collaborates with and supports the compensation leadership within the Associate Rewards CoE, along with operational leadership as staff to the appropriate governance committees, including the HR Leadership Community Council, Pension Committee, Pharmacy Committee, and both Clinical and Operational Committees for SmartHealth.
  • Monitors external factors – including administrative, regulatory, competitive, and financial – to consult with key stakeholders related to the design and structure of broad-based benefit programs.
  • Maintains a working knowledge of legislation and industry developments that affect benefit programs and ensures programs are managed in accordance with all legal requirements.
  • Directs and maintains key relationships with third party vendors and leads procurement and contracting process in partnership with staff, The Resource Group, and Legal Services representatives.  Proactively works with HR Operations and the Ministry Service Center to address customer service issues to support consistent service standards across all programs.
  • Oversees the design and management of the benefits component of the Socially Just Wage and Benefits Policy for the System, in accordance with the principles of justice and objectives established by the Board of Trustees. 
  • Oversees the ongoing implementation of system-wide programs to all entities across the enterprise, including the development of appropriate migration strategies, including premium structures and associate communications, and integration with local wellness programs. 
  • Oversees the due diligence efforts needed to assess the administrative, financial, and compliance aspects of benefit plans sponsored by third party health systems and other entities that are being acquired by or are merging with Ascension.
  • Develops, monitors, and manages all work within department budgets and, as appropriate, builds value propositions when additional funding for department operations is needed.
  • Accountable for staffing, budget management, and staff development, and team culture.



  • Bachelor's Level Degree required
  • Master's Degree or equivalent preferred
  • CEBS or similar professional certification desired

Work Experience:

  •  Minimum 10 years of progressive experience in benefit plan design and administration.
    • 15 years experience preferred.
  • 5 years leadership experience preferred.
  • Demonstrated skill and experience in financial analysis and reporting and the ability to interpret plan language and perform reconciliation of various insurance programs. 
  • Comprehensive knowledge of benefits principles, regulations, and laws is required, including knowledge of retirement program design, financing, and administration.
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